Bill Belichick shocked his own players with massive risk of taking the wind in overtime
Had the Denver Broncos defeated the New England Patriots in overtime on Sunday night, Bill Belichick would still be getting crucified on every major sports network in the country. How can you justify giving the ball to Peyton Manning when a touchdown ends the game? Belichick, who has always done things a bit differently, took the wind.
The wind was blowing from one side of the field to the other at about 20-30 mph throughout the entire game. It was obviously a factor with downfield throws and in the kicking game, so Belichick decided to instill faith in his defense. Even they were surprised.
“We all looked at each other like he was crazy — then we all asked again and again and again,” offensive lineman Logan Mankins told Comcast SportsNet’s Postgame Live, via CSNNE.com. “And we just wanted to make sure we were doing exactly what he wanted. We were just making sure — you never want to be that bonehead out there that, your coach tells you you want the ball and we want to kick it.”
Defensive back Devin McCourty shared similar thoughts.
“Bill’s a genius,” McCourty said. “Even the captains were like, ‘Really? Defer?’ He wanted to take the wind. Obviously that was the best call.”
Manning, who has a reputation for struggling in cold weather, threw a number of wobbly passes throughout the night. He finished the game with 19 completions on 36 pass attempts and just 150 yards. He also threw an interception while the Broncos were facing the wind.
“The wind, it was a strong wind,” Belichick explained, per ESPNBoston.com. “We just had to keep them out of the end zone, obviously. I just felt like the wind would be an advantage if we could keep them out of the end zone on that first drive. We were able to do that. The wind was significant in the game, it was definitely significant.”
One would assume the NFL overtime rules make it so the team that wins the coin toss will take the ball 100% of the time. Is anyone surprised that Belichick broke that trend? We certainly aren’t.